Frequently Asked Questions
For Hip Replacement
Watch the video to learn about the Joint Institute and hip surgery.
What is osteoarthritis and why does my hip hurt?
Joint cartilage is a tough, smooth tissue the covers the end of the bones
where joints are located. It helps cushion the bones during movement,
and because it is smooth and slippery, it allows for motion with minimal
friction. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a wear
and tear condition that destroys joint cartilage. Sometimes as the result
of trauma, repetitive movement, or for no apparent reason, the cartilage
wears down, exposing bone ends. This can occur quickly over months or
may take years to occur. Cartilage destruction can result in painful bone-on-bone
contact, along with swelling and loss of motion. Osteoarthritis usually
occurs later in life and may affect only one joint or many joints.
What is total hip replacement?
A total hip replacement is an operation that removes the arthritic ball
of the upper femur (thigh bone) as well as damaged bone and cartilage
from the hip socket. The ball is replaced with at metal ball that is fixed
solidly inside the femur. The socket is replaced with a plastic or metal
liner that is usually fixed inside a metal shell to create a smoothly
What are the results of total hip replacement?
Results will vary depending on the quality of the surrounding tissue,
the severity of the arthritis at the time of surgery, the patient’s
activity level, and the patient’s adherence to the doctor’s orders.
When should I have this type of surgery?
Your orthopedic surgeon will decide if you are a candidate for the surgery.
The decision will be based on your history, exam, x-rays, and response
to conservative treatment.
Am I too old for this surgery?
Age is generally not an issue if you are in reasonable health and have
the desire to continue living a productive, active life. You may be asked
to see your personal physician for his/her opinion about your general
health and readiness for surgery.
How long will my new hip last?
All implants have a limited life expectancy depending on the individual’s
age, weight, activity level, and other medical condition(s). A total joint
implant’s longevity will vary in every patient. It is important
to remember that an implant is a medical device subject to wear that may
lead to mechanical failure. While it is important to follow all of your
surgeon’s recommendations after surgery, there is no guarantee that
you particular implant will last for any specific length of time.
Why might I require a revision?
Just as your original joint wears out, a joint replacement will wear over
time as well. The most common reason for revision is loosening of the
artificial surface from the bone. If your joint has a plastic spacer,
wearing of the plastic spacer may also result in the need for a new spacer.
Dislocation of the hip after surgery is a risk. Your surgeon will explain
the possible complications associated with a total hip replacement.
What are the possible complications associated with joint replacement?
While uncommon, complications can occur during and after surgery. Some
complications include infections, blood clots, implant breakage, misalignment,
dislocation, and premature wear, any of which may necessitate implant
removal/replacement surgery. Generally, these devices are successful in
attaining reduced pain and restoring normal function.
Although implant surgery is extremely successful in most cases, some patient’s
post-surgical activities and weight can affect longevity. Be sure to discuss
these and other risks with surgeon.
Should I exercise before the surgery?
Yes, you should consult your surgeon and physical therapist about the
exercise appropriate for you. The more prepared you are for surgery the
better the potential recovery. Strengthening your entire body may help
you perform daily activities after your new hip surgery.
Will I need blood?
You may need blood after the surgery. You may use the community blood
supply, have your relatives donate for you or donate you own blood, if
you are able.
When will I begin rehabilitation and get discharged?
You will probably stay in bed the day of your surgery. However, the next
morning you will put on comfortable clothes and begin your rehabilitation
program. This program stresses early, extensive physical activity to help
you prepare to go home. Most individuals will be discharged on the third
day after surgery so if your surgery is on Monday, your discharge would
be on Thursday.